2. Chapter - The role of attractions in heritage interpretation

The concept ofattractionor the attractionpower has major importance, because all thetangibleandintangiblefactorsthat raisethepotentialvisitors' interestandencouragethemto travelmay be consideredattractions.

A building or an eventcan be regarded asanattractionifis able toattractvisitors fromthelocalpopulation and touristsas well. Most of theattractionsare offering, in the first place, recreationalandentertainment facilities forthe visitorsin order to spendtheir free time in an enjoyable way, butrelevantobjectives are the education, the transmission of knowledge, changing the attitudesof visitors, usually in an entertaining form (the synthetic expression for this phenomenonis edutainment(entertainingeducationorteaching entertainment), which is the combination ofthe terms entertainment and education). Theattractions provide service packages at an appropriate level ofquality for the satisfying of the visitors' expectations and needs,theycan befree of charge or with an entryfee (Rátz, 2011 in.: Mihalkó, 2011). The management of the attraction includes the activities related to informing, guiding and coordinating of the arriving tourists.

The objectives of the attraction management are:

  • To get to and coordinate the visitors
  • Transmission of information
  • To provide unique, special experience
  • Opinion development, creating value awareness.

Theheritagepresentation(interpretation) is a process through which the significance andvaluesof asiteor an objectare transmitted to thevisitorsso thattheygain experience, are able to understand better thepresented heritageand have a betterrelationship with the preservation of values.

The primary objective ofinterpretation is the conversion of the visit into experience.In order forthis goalto be achieved, we need to think aboutthe fundamentalmessage of theattraction, about the subject; all theseelements should be divided into topical partsto which we should assign themethods and toolsthat will helpthevisitor tocomprehend and accept the message ofthe attraction (Rátz,2011 in.: Mihalkó, 2011).

The most generalmanifestation form oftheinterpretation is theMission Statement, also known as Mission, whichdescribesthedesiredfuturestate oftheorganizationandhowtoget there, which tasks will have the company.

Example: The principal objectives of the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts are to collect, register, document and study the works of applied art, to keep and present them as part of the national cultural treasure, and thereby to disseminate the values of object and environmental culture for educational purposes. The changing contexts of the world of the museums and their day-to-day functioning require the Museum of Applied Arts to rethink its philosophy and redefine itself for the new, 21st-century environment. The outcome of this process of self-definition will be the renewal of the Museum's operation, i.e. of its exhibition, research, collection and communication activity. This renewal is in fact a return to the aims espoused by the Museum of Applied Arts at its foundation. These included forging links with the industry of the time, providing guidance to industry through the presentation of the technology and forms of past ages, forming public taste, and promoting demand for applied art products. Additionally, many of the most valuable items in the collections today were contemporary art works when the Museum was founded. The tasks of the Museum are thus to preserve, supplement, research and exhibit objects of great historical value, to spread awareness of the times and cultures that produced them, and to research, collect and exhibit today's material culture in the widest sense. Our working philosophy is based around the presentation of stylistic history and technical development of material culture from the Middle Ages to the present day as this relates to the Museum's scope and content of its collections; presentation of the past with references to the present in a system of organic interrelationships of past and present; and assistance in contemporary reception and in present interpretation of the material culture of the past. In addition to providing a 21st-century interpretation, we would like to show how technology and forms created in the past are the precursors of today's material culture and of what we regard as our own tastes. By this means, we would like to raise the quality and standard of contemporary visual culture. A priority task of the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts is to maintain contacts with contemporary applied artists and designers, workshops and artistic organisations, to provide them with a place of presentation, collection and research, and to explore and report developments in applied art and design in Hungary and abroad. Furthermore, the Museum's collections and its library should be sources of inspiration for these artists. The Museum intends to stand as a yardstick of value and to pursue activities that exert an influence on future applied art and design. As a laboratory of art history with high standards of research into the material culture of the past, the Museum of Applied Arts will extend its preservation and new explanations of artists' work.


The basic principles of interpretation:

  • In order to get the attention and interest of the visitor, we should relate the topic to them

If we want the visitors to be actively part of the interpretation, we should get their attention and involve them into the process. We should find those points through which the visitors are able to connect personally to the subject.

  • Interpretation is more than informing. The connections are meant for the presentation of the deeper content

Interpretation cannot become a comercial mass entertainment, because in this case it looses its original mission, that of cultural spreading, transmission of the real content of heritage-values. Besides the experience like nature (which cannot decrease the scientific and cultural level) it is important that interpretation transmits the messages requiring mental processing.

  • Inspires and challenges –increasing thus the number of visitors

Interpretationshould notbe limited solely toillustratethe given heritage-value, but it starts the reflection processrelated to the subject, directs the attention ofthetarget group towards topic related areas, can generate viewing other heritagevalues.

  • Can cause theb change of attitude and behaviour

The efficient interpretation iscapable to change the values andattitudeoftheparticipants, becausethis is the only way to achieveits originalmission.

  • Causes emotional effect – the visitor becomes more sensitive regarding some topics

Interpretation cannot be successful if the visitors aren’t able to connect emotionally with the presented heritage-area,because of some reason they don’t find it acceptable. In case interpretation succeeds to obtain a positive change in the attitude of the target group, it has big chances of being successful.

  • The quality and quantity of information is an important aspect, it should be targeted, short and effective (forrás:www.adam-europe.eu)

Due to the appreciation of time factor, mentionedand detailed previously,it is important thatthetarget groupshould receive the information about the heritagevalue in a logically built, well-structured, easilydecipherable presentation, basicallyconsisting ofkeymessages.

The necessary requirements of the personholding the presentation:

  • Having professional know-how
  • Reliability
  • Understanding
  • Tolerance
  • Commitment
  • Joviality
  • Creativity
Attraction, Power of atraction, „Edutainment” –„education-entertainment”, Mission statement – Mission, Experience, Basic principles of interpretation
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